You know how there are those really simple things which often take years to click with you? For example, the jingle for Kay Jewelers—”Every kiss begins with Kay”—took me over a decade to realize that it was referring to the letter K in ‘kiss.’ (Do you respect me just a little less now? I don’t blame you.) I thought they were just saying every kiss involves our jewelry.
Anyway, I have recently been going through a similar season of epiphany which has to do with returning to the subject of a million sermons and Bible verses: Love. There are so many basic truths and maxims and passages we hear repeated so much they lose all their meaning. I have been returning to their origins and in a way, rediscovering their meanings. These verses include, but are not limited to:
“Remove the log from your own eye before the speck from your brother’s.”
“There is no fear in love.”
“The world will know you are my disciples by your love.”
Something clicked which, honestly, should have clicked years ago but didn’t. And that is, we need to be people who love others before we judge, condemn, and correct them. I’m going to try to word this right: Other people’s sins do not affect your life at all. You do not gain heaven points by pointing out other people’s sin and trying to make them better.
Barring, of course, violence or abuse which does affect you or others, trying to mold and form other people out of a religious motivation is most likely not love. When we try to change people, we are usually not loving them, but trying to form them in our own image.
The most common argument for this—which I have employed in the past—is that correcting their sin is loving them. Granted, that may be the case 5% of the time, and only with close, Christian friends, but is this how we tend to live our lives?
For example, I have some friends here in Guatemala who are a married gay couple. I had dinner with them a few nights ago and it was so much fun! They are intelligent, vibrant and attractive people. They are not Christians, but they are aware of both my faith and my different views of homosexuality. But they also know I put my relationship with them over my beliefs.
Sure, I could lecture them on the evils of their twisted ways every time we hang out, but how long do you think that relationship would last? Is their marriage harming me in any way? Or, am I losing heaven points by not calling them out for being gay?
Think about it this way: I would much rather live like Jesus who welcomed the sinner and the outcast to His table. I would rather my friends encounter Him before they ever hear a word about their ‘sinful lifestyle.’ Frankly, they’ve already been told that by a thousand other Christians in the name of love. To summarize:
—I gain nothing by pointing out their own sin to people, especially those who don’t even believe in God.
—I lose nothing by befriending them, loving them, eating with them, seeing them as beloved of God and made in His image.